Exam classes are often different from regular school classes. High school students usually follow a separate after-school course to get ready for the exam (PET, FCE, CAE). This means that sometimes they only attend some lessons with the teacher, but not enough to get them to the required level for the exam. So they will have to work a lot at home. There are many quite good self-preparation coursebooks around and a lot of free on-line resources – so students do not have problems with materials.
But how effective are their study skills?
Here is a list of five tips I give to my FCE students:
1. Understand the requirements of the course and the exam. Once this is done, try to plan and organise your tasks according to them.
2. Time management: try to figure out how much time you have to prepare for the exam, write down a timetable and stick to it. Try to be flexible and re-arrange it if necessary. Don’t get distracted or frustrated, start with smaller task. you don’t necessarily have to start from paper 1, task 1.
3. Be patient, learning takes time so review what you’ve learnt regularly (GW can help you on this, see point 5).
4. Discuss and understand the feedback you get from the teacher. Be receptive and use it to manage your study plan. Focus more on your weaknesses.
5. Work in a small group (3-4 people), compare, share, practice tasks and results.